Friday, April 19, 2024

Smiles in the miles as Casino to Bentley Rail Trail opens

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It’s been 10 years in the making – the rail trail is complete and you can ride, walk, take a trishaw, take the dog or run the Casino to Bentley Rail Trail.

It is more than 13 km tracking through farmland with cows grazing against a backdrop of soft, green hills.

It is part of a bigger plan when eventually the trail will run all the way from Tweed to Casino.

The Bentley to Lismore section should be finished by the end of the year.

The official opening was at the Old Casino Railway Station area today, Saturday, March 23.

Sam Walker did a Welcome to Country and then Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow talked about Casino’s railway history to the crowd gathered for the opening.

The Casino Station opened in 1903.

Mr Mustow recalled catching a train to Byron Bay when he was a kid.

The Old Casino Station closed in 1974, he said.

The council is expecting large numbers to use the rail trail.

“There were 140,000 users in the first year at the Tweed Trail,” Mr Mustow said.

Most of the Casino to Bentley Rail Trail is flat except for the section that goes over the tunnel hill at Naughtons Gap. Trail users will need to go over the tunnel as microbats live there.

It provides stunning views, Mr Mustow said.

Two 96 year old women – Pauline Digby and Elsie Keneally – were the first to go on the trail in a trishaw after the mayor cut the ribbon.

Council’s general manager Vaughan Macdonald said 48,000 tons of quarry products were used in making the trail.

There are three carparks along the way with the capacity for 207 cars.

14km of fencing was put up and 12,000sqm of mulch was used to stabilise the embankments.

The Bentley end of the trail has a new toilet block.

John O’Brien from Rail Trails Australia said Victoria had 40 trails and they had revitalised villages.

“The same thing will happen here as new businesses open,” Mr O’Brien said.

Once the speeches were finished, people set off on the rail trail.

What stood out the most were the smiles on people’s faces – they walked, talked and found a new way to enjoy the region.

Find out more at the Northern Rivers Rail Trail website.

Here are some photos from the opening day.

See all the pictures at indyNR.com.

This article appeared on indyNR.com on 23 March 2024.

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